Archive | February 13, 2015

Learning New Artistic Skills Develops Creative Thinking that Leads to Creative Solutions*

Learning New Artistic Skills Develops Creative Thinking that Leads to Creative Solutions*

Confirming what’s known…

By Tom Jacobs

New research finds neural changes not only reflecting increased technical capacities, but also enhanced creativity.

Are artists born, or made? At the end of Woody Allen’s great comedy Bullets Over Broadway, the John Cusack character concludes that, in spite of his desire and effort, he will never be a creative genius. He simply does not have the gift.

But is his reluctant assumption that artistry is encoded in one’s genes, or perhaps one’s soul, really true? A recently published paper suggests otherwise.

“Creativity is another concept that is often thought of as something we are either born with or will never have,” says Dartmouth College psychologist Alexander Schlegel, lead author of a paper published in the journal NeuroImage. “Our data clearly refute this notion.”

Schlegel and his colleagues report that taking an introductory class in painting or drawing literally alters students’ brains. What’s more, these training-induced changes didn’t only improve the fine motor control needed for sophisticated sketching; they also boosted the students’ creative thinking.

Start doing the work, and the brain responds, allowing one to build and retain not just technical knowledge, but also the imaginative capacity needed to utilize it fully.

Their study featured 35 college undergraduates, 17 of whom took a three-month introductory course in observational drawing or painting. All underwent monthly brain scans using fMRI technology.

At the beginning and end of the study, all participants completed a standard test of creative thinking, which measures such factors as fluency, originality, and the creative use of imagery and language.

During each of the monthly sessions, their brains were scanned under two conditions: as they “judged properties of illusory visual stimuli,” a test designed to track the development of their perceptual abilities; and as they made “quick, 30-second gesture drawings based on observations of human figures.”

“We did not find any improvements in the art students’ purely perceptual skills or related brain activity relative to a control group of students who did not study art,” the researchers write.

“We did, however, find that the art students improved in the ability to quickly translate observations of human figures into gesture drawings, and that fine-grained patterns of drawing-related neural activity in the cerebellum and cerebral cortex increasingly differentiated the art students from the control group over the course of the study.”

In other words, the researchers were able to watch as the brain adapted to learning new skills. But more importantly, they also observed changes in their prefrontal white matter that corresponded to an increase in their ability to think creatively.

The art students specifically increased “their ability to think divergently, model systems and processes, and use imagery,” the researchers write. The results suggests that, in a matter of a few months, “prefrontal white matter reorganizes as (art students) become more able to think creatively.”

So here is still more evidence of the plasticity of the brain, and its ability to adapt to new habits, new skills, and new information. Start doing the work, and the brain responds, allowing one to build and retain not just technical knowledge, but also the imaginative capacity needed to utilize it fully.

“Maybe there are gene variants that give individuals a proclivity toward art (e.g. make them more open to new ideas or more prone to make connections or see patterns), but that is a long way from saying they were born an artist and that those without such gene variants are doomed to being uncreative,” Schlegel concludes.

“It also propagates the strange myth of the artist as a special class of human. I hope our study will help to debunk the notion that there are “artists” and “the rest of us.”


Related Topics:

Your Creativity and Non-conformity a Threat to the NWO*

The Importance of the Creative Principle in Life

Technology-Free Play Still Available by the São Francisco River*

15-Year-Old Girl Creates Thermoelectric Flashlight – Powered By Heat from Human Hand*

Inspiring Youth Recycle Cooking Fat into Biofuel for Hard-up Families*

Biology Proves Our Thoughts Create our Well-Being!

Nature Helps Our Brain Connect!

Transition to a More Creative Life

How Forced Government Schooling has Created a Dysfunctional Society

What Some Great Minds Thought of Schooling

A Silent Education Revolution in Brazil*

Modern Lifestyles, Thought and the Nature of Alzheimer

Egypt’s Creative Talent: Vanishing Within Education? 

An Awakened Life: Trials and Tribulations*

Why is the Legalization of Gay Marriage so Important to the Queen?*

Why is the Legalization of Gay Marriage so Important to the Queen?*

By Andy Borowitz

© Dan Kitwood/POOL/Reuters

Moments after approving a new law legalizing gay marriage in England and Wales, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain unleashed a blistering attack on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for “lacking the guts” to do the same.

The British monarch’s brutal evisceration of Gov. Christie stunned observers, who did not know that she was such a close follower of his gay-marriage stance.

“I don’t like to badmouth people,” she said.

“But I’m the head of a monarchy that began in the ninth century, and I’m apparently more modern than Chris Christie.

After shocking observers with her opening salvo, she continued to tear Gov. Christie to shreds.

Look, I know he has to appeal to the crazy right wingers in his party,” she added.

“But the fact is, he’s not as forward-thinking as an eighty-seven-year-old lady who wears a crown on her head. It’s pathetic.”

Asked if she had advice for Gov. Christie, the British monarch said, bluntly, “Just sign the damn bill, Chris.”

Responding to a reporter’s question about the upcoming royal birth, Elizabeth replied, “Tell you the truth? I’m just glad the kid’s not being born in New Jersey.”


Related Topics:

Adviser to Queen and Founder of Paedophile Support Group*

Sexual Liberation a Tool of Mass Control*

The British Monarch Vetoes Legislation that Doesn’t Serve It’s Interests*

Religious Schools Face Closure if they don’t Promote Homosexuality*

Royal Babylon

Power and Paedophilia Rife in the US Government*

Only $3 billion Declared of the $39.5 billion in Gulf Aid to Sisi*

Only $3 billion Declared of the $39.5 billion in Gulf Aid to Sisi*

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi received more than $39.5 billion in aid from Gulf states, leaked recordings aired on Mekameleen satellite channel yesterday revealed.

The funds came following the July 2013 coup and were sent by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The total included $25 billion in cash and $14.5 billion worth of petrol. Saudi Arabia alone contributed $22.5 billion.

In the recording, Al-Sisi seems to be telling Abbas Kamil, his office manager: “The country is ours.” Kamil seemed very happy because of the billions that were flowing into the military in Egypt.

In the new leaked recording, Sisi asks Al-Kamil to press Khaled Al-Tuwaijri, the then head of the Saudi Royal Court, to pay them in cash rather than in material aid such as wheat or oil.

Mekameleen aired the leaked audio clip, recorded in Al-Sisi’s office, under the headline “Sisi robs the Gulf”. The channel called on the Egyptian president to travel immediately to Saudi Arabia to confess to the new Saudi monarch that he has been a thief.

Former member of the budget committee in the Egyptian parliament Ashraf Bader Eddin commented to the channel that the coup government only declared $3 billion in its budget donated by the Gulf states and about $6 billion in petrol aid. That leaves $30 billion unaccounted for. Last night, social media and political commentators were asking one question: Where did these billions go?

In the first segment of the recording, the conversation takes place between Al-Sisi’s office manager Brigadier Abbas Kamil, Assistant Chief of Staff Brigadier Ahmad Abdel Halim and former military spokesman Ahmad Ali. The three men discuss Saudi’s financial assistance, how to grab as much of it as possible and how to dispense of it.

Kamil says: “When you come to ask from Saudi Arabia don’t ask for change,” hinting that Al-Sisi should ask for large sums of money and not modest amounts.

The three discuss the Saudi medical aid provided to Egypt. Under Al-Sisi’s command, the army seized the aid. When Ahmad Ali asked if the aid was intended for the army or for Egypt, Kamil answered: “The army is Egypt.”

In the second segment of the recording, Kamil and Al-Sisi talk about businessmen in Egypt calling them “the kids” and saying that “he goes around collecting funds from them”. The two men were apparently discussing the significance and mechanism of fundraising.

In the third segment, Al-Sisi admits that he obtained $39 billion from the Gulf States.


Related Topics:

Will Sisi Make it Post-Elections?

As Actor and Singer Could be Charged for Treason, a Leak inside Sisi’s Office Take the Truth Further*

Egypt: Israel to Support Sisi’s Regime*

Members of Egypt’s Elite Admit to Planning and Financing the Coup as they Conspired to Bring Down Sisi*

Egyptian Military Dissent Comes to the Surface after Assassination Attempt on Sisi*

Five Reasons Why the Gulf Stopped Funding Al-Sisi*

Sisi: Cleaning Up his Image*

Sisi’s offer of Kicking People out of their Own Land Welcomed by Israel*

Saudi Prince Calls for Prosecution Of Officials Who Backed Egyptian Coup*

Gazans Hold Vigil for Murdered Chapel Hill Students*

Gazans Hold Vigil for Murdered Chapel Hill Students*

Scores of Palestinians in Gaza yesterday protested against the killing of two Palestinians and a Syrian in North Carolina, US, on Tuesday.

Demonstrators stood outside the United Nations’ office in Gaza City holding banners which read: “Do you know why they were killed? The answer is: They were Muslims” and “Where is the United Nations when racist crimes are committed?”.

Saed Al-Hatom, a representative of the Islamic Bloc who organised the vigil, called on the US authorities to punish the perpetrator of “this terrorist crime and work to prevent racial escalation against Muslims”.

He demanded international human rights institutions bear their responsibilities and take immediate action to stop what he called the serious systematic crimes against Palestinian and Muslim rights.

He also called on the global student unions “to go out to clarify their position on what happened and not remain silence about the murder”.

Al-Hatom appealed to Palestinian embassies and communities “around the world to provide protection for Palestinian students abroad”.

On Tuesday, 23-year-old Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were shot dead in their home in North Carolina. A 46-year-old man, named by police as Craig Stephen Hicks, has been arrested on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder.

There was a significant social media outrage at the lack of coverage from the mainstream media in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

Images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.


Related Topics:

Humanity at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Spiritual Consciousness

Israel’s Latest War in the Planning Eight Years*

Mother Ashkenazi, Father Muslim – Dahlia Wasfi Argues Against Illegal Occupation

Neo-Nazis Help Israel Block Recognition of Palestine*

#OpISIS: Anonymous Takes Down 5,000 ISIS Accounts*

#OpISIS: Anonymous Takes Down 5,000 ISIS Accounts*

Just about a week ago, we broke the story on the “hacktivist” group Anonymous destroying months of recruiting work for the terrorist network known as ISIS. Anonymous took over dozens of accounts on Twitter and Facebook, which have been overtly used as recruiting tools for the group to gain more numbers. Just days after that, the hacktivist group hit back in what we at Counter Current News termed “Round 2.”

In that second round of attacks, Anonymous took down and exposed literally thousands of accounts! They explain that “Round 2” of #OpISIS was “just to show what your government is not doing.” They comment that it is “not that difficult” to fight back against ISIS online. So they raise the question as to why the governments who claim to oppose ISIS are not doing what Anonymous is doing? In this latest “Round 3″ video, Red Cult Anons issued an ultimatum to Twitter and the U.S. Government.

They have compiled the most comprehensive list of ISIS social media accounts to date, including many which were just created to replace those targeted by Anonymous just days ago. Anonymous said they did this to “help,” but essentially told Twitter that the proverbial ball is in their court now. They are giving Twitter the room to “do their jobs” and shut these accounts down, just as Twitter has pledged to do, and claimed to be concerned with. If they are not shut down, Anonymous suggests that they will just have to do it themselves.

Anonymous came to us directly with this story to help get it out there, and get it out there we did. Now, dozens of smaller sites and many in the mainstream media – from the BBC to RT – have reported on “Round 2,” although few made mention of where they got the information. What is most important is that the information is getting out there, but to thank us for working so closely with them to give accurate and unbiased coverage of these Anonymous operations, “Red Cult” has put the Counter Current News logo on their video for “Round 3″ and given us a special thanks in their latest video description:

“A special thanks to our friends at Counter Current News, who always provide fair journalistic coverage of Anonymous Ops we added the CCN logo.”

From the very first #OpISIS strike, to the series of Rounds 1, 2 and 3 (just wait till you see Round 4), we will be here reporting the news straight from source. Anonymous is just getting started with fighting ISIS, so have a seat and bring some popcorn. Watch the latest #OpISIS “Round 3” video below…

As in the video for “Round 2“, this latest video explains that Anons engaged in #OpISIS are “Muslims, Christians, Jews” alike. They are “hackers, crackers, Hacktivist, phishers, agents, spies, or just the guy next door… students, administrators, workers, clerks, unemployed, rich, poor.” The video continues to explain to their enemies that they are “young, or old, gay or straight… from all races, countries, religions, and ethnicity. United as one, divided by zero.” The video also seeks to inform the public that the terrorists that are calling themselves [the] Islamic State (ISIS) are not Muslims. Follow the prefacing “clarification,” the video explains the following, direct to ISIS specifically:

We will hunt you, take down your sites, accounts, emails, and expose you… From now on, no safe place for you online… You will be treated like a virus, and we are the cure… We own the internet… We are Anonymous; we are Legion; we do not forgive, we do not forget, Expect us.

The new, expanded list of ISIS accounts at


Related Topics:

U.K. Cyber Brigade Serves to Spread Lies on Social Networks*

Palestine Opens First European Embassy*

Cabal Rule Continues to Collapse*

Humanity at the Crossroads: The Crisis in Spiritual Consciousness

ISIS exposed at House of Lords and the Covenant of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)*

ISIS Weapons Made in Israel*

Now we Know Why ISIS/L is Destroying Iraq and not Defending Palestine*

Foiled: The Simulated ISIS Attack on U.S. Soil*

NATO Airstrikes Target Grain Silos not ISIS*

Senior Commander of ISIS is a ‘retired’ US General Paul Vallely*

Plunging Oil Prices, ISIS and the Secret U.S – Saudi Deal*

ISIS: A CIA Trojan Horse to Justify War Abroad and Repression at Home*

ISIS Flags Found in Israel*

U.S. Destruction of Syrian Oil Infrastructure has nothing to do with ISIS/L*

The U.S. – ISIS Can’t Get the Story Right!*

ISIS’ Air Force, Israel*

The Irreligiosity of IS, ISIS/ISIL*

Right on Cue: Australia Like Canada’s False ISIS Flag Brings in NWO Laws*

Yemen: U.S. Backed Government Forced to Flee, but Will that Stop Them?*

Yemen: U.S. Backed Government Forced to Flee, but Will that Stop Them?*

By Joseph Lemiuex

The United States has chosen to abandon their diplomatic embassy in Yemen. The U.S. backed government of Yemen has been effectively taken over by Houthi rebels. During the evacuation of the staff, the Houthis would not allow departing U.S. Marines to leave with their weapons.

The Houthi rebels seized U.S. Marines’ weapons at the airport, and the American troops also handed over some weapons to random airport officials. This also includes any vehicles that were driven to the airport by American personal.

Prior to the evacuation, embassy officials burned tens of thousands of documents and also destroyed some weapons held at the facility, effectively destroying the footprint of our involvement with Yemen.

Shia Houthi protesters in Yemen have issued new demands, saying they will not halt their demonstrations until the government meets the demands. The Houthi movement played a key role in the popular revolution that forced former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. – Press T.V.

Although the Yemeni government has fallen, the U.S. Government claims to still be conducting military operations in the area. The Pentagon plans to continue counter terrorism training with Yemeni security forces, as well continuing as the drone program.

“They are still capable of conducting counterterrorism operations in Yemen, and frankly … there’s some counterterrorism training that’s still ongoing … with Yemeni security forces,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

Rumors of the US negotiating with Houthi rebels have been circulating, but so far an unconfirmed.

Yemen has the looks of a U.S. involved failed state, again. The future of these rebels will likely depend on their cooperation with the U.S. Government moving forward. One can only guess by these events, the Houthi rebels don’t approve of the American government.

But which sane person does…


Related Topics:

Europe’s Population ‘Management’ Agenda in Yemen.

U.S. Used Al-Qaeda to Blackmail Yemen*

Cabal Rule Continues to Collapse*


Vermont, First US City to Run 100 Percent on Sustainable Energy*

Vermont, First US City to Run 100 Percent on Sustainable Energy*

By Christina Sarich

With Fukushima radiation still raining down on us, fracking causing earthquakes in Dallas, TX and other cities, and petroleum-based energy polluting the air and waterways, it’s good to know that one US city is currently supplying 100% renewable, sustainable energy for all its residents’ electricity needs. Vermont, the same state that has successfully challenged the biotech industry by instituting GMO labeling laws, is also home to Burlington – where green energy powers life.

Vermont is known for socially conscious politics, and geographically hosting the first 100% sustainably-run city is a huge milestone, not only for residents of Burlington, but for all US cities – because it shows that sustainable energy is a possibility.

PBS recently reported on the city’s milestone in William Brangh’s PBS NewsHour. The city gets its energy primarily from wind farms, hydro-electric projects, and solar panels. You can see how Burlington achieved this monumental feat…

Norwhich, Vermont, is also trying to go 100% green with solar panels. 308 solar panels now supply half the city’s energy. The state actually provided a large portion of funding for the project through a grant, which is expected to pay for itself in less than 20 years.

Burlington, VA has also updated its story, and now gets more power from the sustainable grid than their residents actually use.

Avaaz recently sent a petition to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, featuring the signatures of  2.2 million people. It requested that local, national, and international leaders make the transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Avaaz is currently aiming to get at least 100 cities around the world to join its campaign over the next year.

Other places on the planet aiming toward, or already running on 100% sustainable energy include:

  • Aruba – a plan is in place for Aruba to run on 100% sustainable energy in just five more years.
  • Oslo, Norway – is all about running on green energy, and having extra energy to spare. They also recycle their waste.
  • Malmö, Sweden – everyone could learn a trick or two from Malmö. Most of the country’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydropower. Cities such as Malmö are contributing to the greening of Sweden with planned to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 25% between 2008 and 2012, far exceeding the 5% goal set by the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, Malmö aims to have the entire municipality running on 100% renewable energy by 2030.


Related Topics:

Vermont Towns Vote to Start a Public Bank that Works for Them*

Raw Milk Delivery Allowed in Vermont*

How Nebraskans took Control of their Energy Grid*

Sweden Recycles 99per cent of Its Waste*

Australia to Use Clean Renewable Energy to Source Mining*